|7-26-16 Education in the News|
The Atlantic-- Students' Broken Moral Compasses
The pressures of national academic standards have pushed character education out of the classroom.
A few months ago, I presented the following scenario to my junior English students: Your boyfriend or girlfriend has committed a felony, during which other people were badly harmed. Should you or should you not turn him or her into the police?
The class immediately erupted with commentary. It was obvious, they said, that loyalty was paramount—not a single student said they’d “snitch.” They were unequivocally unconcerned about who was harmed in this hypothetical scenario. This troubled me.
This discussion was part of an introduction to an essay assignment about whether Americans should pay more for ethically produced food. We continued discussing other dilemmas, and the kids were more engaged that they’d been in weeks, grappling with big questions about values, character, and right versus wrong as I attempted to expand their thinking about who and what is affected—and why it matters—by their caloric choices.
I was satisfied that students were clearly thinking about tough issues, but unsettled by their lack of experience considering their own values. “Do you think you should discuss morality and ethics more often in school?” I asked the class. The vast majority of heads nodded in agreement. Engaging in this type of discourse, it seemed, was a mostly foreign concept for the kids.
Paul Barnwell| Jul 25, 2016
Education Week--Data Looms Large in Quest for New School-Quality Indicator
States look hard at what's required to meet ESSA's mandate
States scrambling to come up with more nuanced ways to measure school quality under the new federal K-12 law are running smack into an old problem: how to make sure they have the right data.
The Every Student Succeeds Act requires that states—in addition to using English-language proficiency, graduation rates, and scores on statewide achievement tests—add at least one new indicator of school quality or student success, such as school climate, chronic absenteeism, discipline, or college and career readiness.
For many states, adding that new indicator may mean spending more on data systems and collection, avoiding approaches that might demand too much of a data lift, or picking something off the shelf rather than crafting a more challenging indicator, because the information isn't easily available.
Complicating the matter, the law requires that the data for the new school-quality indicator must be valid, reliable, and comparable across districts, and that officials be able to break out the information by student demographics.
By Daarel Burnette II| July 19, 2016
Garden State Coalition of Schools